from the parent of a prisoner in Eastern WA
Whether you are a participant or spectator of amateur and/or professional sports, you have likely seen a championship winning team pour Gatorade on a coach’s head. Or, during the game, match, or race – you may have seen an athlete drinking her or his Gatorade, Powerade, or some other sports drink.
I was an interscholastic and intercollegiate athlete – track and cross country – for seven years. One of the many routines that we engaged in at practice was to get our supply of salt tablets before the practice session or meet. These salt tablets were later replaced by Gatorade (then Powerade). In the 10th grade, I really did not know what “electrolytes” were, but our coaches did – so they insisted on us using the tablets to “avoid cramps…” Sports medicine is so much more sophisticated now as we understand the benefits and pitfalls of (not) replacing lost/spent electrolytes for anyone engaging in strenuous and/or protracted activity – work or play.
The science behind the practice of supplying electrolytes (drinks or sports bars) to athletes or workers is irrefutable / unassailable. However, there is a “donut hole” in the application of this knowledge to workers/athletes. And, that donut hole is found in many or most penal institutions.
Our youngest of three children, Jonathan, has spent years behind bars – without the benefit of electrolyte replacement drinks / bars. And, he is having the type of medical condition / reaction that my coaches and the current literature warns of. I’ve visited the prisons that he has served time in. In most visits, I saw inmates in the yard, in the heat (we live in the desert of Eastern WA). Jon tells us that he once ran several miles each day, with only water to “quench” his thirst. Multiply his experience by any number of incarcerated men and women who want to or actually work out one or more times each week.
The number of incarcerated people in America is nearing 2.5 million people. If only 5-10% of those inmates wanted to play basketball, lift weights or run on a frequent basis, we have a deferred medical crisis brewing – many of these people will be released. The “fix” is simple and relatively inexpensive as prospective vendors would jump at the chance to supply our penal institutions with products that may help to avert this medical crisis. All inmates should be made aware of the hazards of not replacing electrolytes when exercising or working.
From the WA State Attorney General’s Office, we read in its “Vulnerable Adult Abuse Prosecution Manual”
an adult may be vulnerable due to age, mobility concerns, living arrangements,
or other circumstances, but fail to satisfy the legal definition of vulnerable adult.
Nevertheless, the victim’s vulnerability can form the basis for alleging an aggravating
factor for sentencing purposes. Additionally, the victim’s vulnerability frequently
dictates how the prosecutor prepares a case.
And in the “Vulnerable Adult Abuse Investigation Manual for Law Enforcement:
Washington State has specific statutes to protect this population. The term “vulnerable adult” is used to refer to an adult who has unique vulnerability issues regardless of whether the narrow legal definitions are satisfied. Understanding the legal definition of vulnerable adult is necessary so that the officer can identify the potential crimes that are being investigated.
Our son, Jonathan, DOC#, has unsuccessfully sought medical treatment and relief since 2014 from Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen, WA. Is there a valid reason to withhold treatment or relief? If Jon is not a “vulnerable adult” – among other vulnerable adults, who then is vulnerable? There are or could be more “victimized” vulnerable adults, unless the Department of Corrections proactively eliminates one of the contributing factors to illness among the inmates in this state.